In a college dorm, in a prison, in a marriage
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Barbara Hurd’s most recent book is Walking the Wrack Line: On Tidal Shifts and What Remains, and her essays have appeared in Best American Essays, the Georgia Review, and Orion. She lives in Frostburg, Maryland, and teaches part time in the Stonecoast MFA program at the University of Southern Maine.
A few propositions: Dissonance inspires patience; discord, correction. Discord is neither arranged nor disarranged; it’s haphazard, without any sense of audience or any context larger than itself — an earmuffed dolphin in a closet with a drumstick attached to its flipper. Dissonance, however, is a seal wobbled by currents on its way to a fish-rich cove. It has a direction in mind. Dissonance expects to be heard. It’s composed.
When, by some act of grace, the lines we think are there dissolve, something else appears, something timeless and rich, an intermediate zone, languid and latent, the lushness of something about to be and in no particular hurry to make it happen. The boundary between physical and spiritual melts, and we see that one is always infused with the other.